Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Government's old Crown limo fleet for sale

The 32 BMW 730Ld cars from the Crown's VIP fleet are being sold through Turners car auctions, which advertises them with the blurb "Feel like a Prime Minister". Photo / Jason Oxenham
The 32 BMW 730Ld cars from the Crown's VIP fleet are being sold through Turners car auctions, which advertises them with the blurb "Feel like a Prime Minister". Photo / Jason Oxenham

The old fleet of Crown limos used by ministers, royalty and visiting dignitaries is for sale after the Government renewed its fleet of BMWs.

The 32, three-year-old BMW 730Ld cars from the Crown's VIP fleet are being sold through Turners car auctions in an online tender, which advertises them with the blurb "Feel like a Prime Minister ... Your one and only chance ... Experience this Prestigious and Luxury European Limousine today".

Half of the fleet is listed with mileages ranging from 69,943km for a Wellington-based car to 146,059 for an Auckland-based car.

The cost of replacing the cars has not been disclosed but they retail at more than $200,000 each.

There was controversy when a 2008 contract with BMW was renewed in 2012 to replace the old fleet.

The Department of Internal Affairs runs the process and at the time said it was "a good deal" and that it did not need to inform the Government about its decisions.

Harley Spence, the manager of VIP Transport in the Department of Internal Affairs, said Turners was used previously because if ensured an open and transparent sales process.

"We expect higher buyer interest and, importantly, value for the taxpayer by gaining the best return."

The limos have serviced ministers, visiting politicians and the Speaker as well as the Leader of the Opposition.

The cars were introduced in 2012. Since then they have driven visitors including many royals from Prince Charles and Camilla to Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and baby George as well as visiting heads of state.

The new fleet of BMW 730LDs have been phased in since December. Thirty two of the 34-strong fleet were being replaced. The DIA announced it was replacing the fleet last year after three years of service because the extended warranties had run out. Nine vehicle models from six car manufacturers were submitted for the tender and DIA said the BMWs had the lowest overall cost of ownership of the ones that were suitable for the role.

- NZ Herald

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